ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume II-3/W3
08 Oct 2013
 | 08 Oct 2013

Pixel-based approach for building heights determination by SAR radargrammetry

C. Dubois, A. Thiele, and S. Hinz

Keywords: SAR radargrammetry, building height, disparity map

Abstract. Numerous advances have been made recently in photogrammetry, laser scanning, and remote sensing for the creation of 3D city models. More and more cities are interested in getting 3D city models, be it for urban planning purposes or for supporting public utility companies. In areas often affected by natural disaster, rapid updating of the 3D information may also be useful for helping rescue forces. The high resolutions that can be achieved by the new spaceborne SAR sensor generation enables the analysis of city areas at building level and make those sensors attractive for the extraction of 3D information. Moreover, they present the advantage of weather and sunlight independency, which make them more practicable than optical data, in particular for tasks where rapid response is required. Furthermore, their short revisit time and the possibility of multi-sensor constellation enable providing several acquisitions within a few hours. This opens up the floor for new applications, especially radargrammetric applications, which consider acquisitions taken under different incidence angles. In this paper, we present a new approach for determining building heights, relying only on the radargrammetric analysis of building layover. By taking into account same-side acquisitions, we present the workflow of building height determination. Focus is set on some geometric considerations, pixel-based approach for disparity map calculation, and analysis of the building layover signature for different configurations in order to determine building height.